"Media savvy Ed Mead wonders whether tweeting in people's Face is really the way forward."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 by Douglas And Gordon

There's a lot of rubbish being talked about how corporate entities can gain traction from such sites as Twitter and Facebook in order to gain competitive advantage. Conversely, the whole thing is fluid and subject to change. One important issue is that the drivers of change in these sites tend to be a totally different age from those running the companies looking to use them. Take Facebook, most users will be in the 20 - 30 age bracket. Given the average age of a first time buyer is 36, most users will not appreciate a page that's simply an extension of a corporate website. Research shows that most users only "like" 5 or so companies, and so is it simply too early to jump on the bandwagon. A few have done and their pages are cringe making, although I am 50 so am bound to, aren't I?

Further research amongst D&G employees, a majority of whom fall into the user bracket, showed that not only are there big gaps in knowledge amongst their peers about how purchasing/renting works, but that they're embarrassed to admit it. Consequently, Facebook could be an excellent medium for updating people's basic ABC knowledge of the buying process, how to borrow money, what IS a mortgage, how do APRs work etc etc. My suspicion is that it's still a bit early for many to "like" an estate agency much, although how lovely it would be to be able to re-educate up and coming property consumers about how important we are!

Twitter is a different enigma. I've looked at, and enjoyed participating in, Twitter as an opinion former. Mike Reed, our Head of IT, likens it to shouting loudly, and as such the message is there briefly but can be heard and remembered if it's interesting. For me it's ideal, 140 characters is about my attention span anyway. We've been thinking about tweeting our properties out via another account, but reckon that's a turn off for most. But, and it's a big but, it seems as if Twitter is becoming a well used medium by those blasted youngsters we were trying to reach via Facebook. My issue with Twitter has always been that unless you are constantly referring to it, you'll miss any nuggets as they pass below the bottom of the page, and if you follow thousands (I don't) you can't possibly catch up. So I can't see how the young, already loaded with BBM and texts, could possibly welcome another distraction, but boy, have I been proved wrong in the past.

So none of the above answers any questions, but posing them is enough to give many a headache, and I'm one of them. If you want to see what I do on Twitter follow me @ed_mead